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Pitch

A judgewiki is a spreadsheet which people can edit and run "what-ifs" with the same global participation as wikis of text and pictures.


Description

Summary

 

A judgewiki is software that allows many people to rank solutions to an issue. The rankings would change over time as research and development provide more information. A judgewiki organizes and records the antique tools we have been using to decide long-term issues. The antique tools include commissions and committees producing reports and studies. If a report is a “snapshot” in time, a judgewiki is an animated movie using the reports as the picture frames. (Or a report is a flashlight illuminating a subject and a judgewiki is a laser capable of surgery on the subject.)


Category of the action

Changing public perceptions on climate change


What actions do you propose?

Consult Judge Wiki

 

(This is a software concept invention looking for a software developer.)

 

 

What is a judgewiki?

 

A judgewiki is software, as yet undeveloped, for making decisions on the Internet.  The software will be complex, requiring the resources of a Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, or the like to develop and deploy.

 

A judgewiki is software that allows many people to rank solutions to an issue.  The rankings would change over time as research and development provide more information.  A judgewiki organizes and records the antique tools we have been using to decide long-term issues.  The antique tools include commissions and committees producing reports and studies.  If a report is a “snapshot” in time, a judgewiki is an animated movie using the reports as the picture frames.  (Or a report is a flashlight illuminating a subject and a judgewiki is a laser capable of surgery on the subject.)

 

The second word, wiki, refers to software that allows many people to collaborate when adding knowledge to a web site.  WikipediA, a general encyclopedia, is a well-known example.  Web-search any unfamiliar terms, such as: wiki, matrix theory, decision-matrix method, or morphological analysis, you often find decent definitions on WikipediA.  The wiki allows many people to add to and edit research results.  (In the judgewiki, the research results become the animated frames of the movie or the photons of the laser beam.)

 

The first word, judge, refers to a technique used to figure out which are the best of many alternative actions or processes.  The wiki may judge with the classic “decision-matrix method” or “Pugh method.”  A conceptual sample Climate Change judgewiki, on an Excel spreadsheet, is attached.  The technologies are listed in one column.  Criteria are listed in other columns.  Each technology is given a score for each criterion.  One can “score” every technology for each criterion and then “sort” the technologies for which are better.  The decision-matrix allows people to “see” the wiki’s encyclopedia of knowledge condensed into a picture.  (The single picture of the wiki is transformed into an animated movie of information.  The uncoordinated photons of information become the coherent light of a laser beam.)

 

A matrix also allows one to sum the production of each technology.  For example, Climate Change technologies would produce “fossil carbon dioxide offsets per year,” or some such measure of reduction or removal.  When using the matrix, one would find that many technologies are needed to sum to mankind’s future carbon emission offsets (or energy production).

 

A simple issue, such as where to site a windmill farm, may employ a two dimensional matrix.  Very complex issues could employ more dimensions in the matrix.

 


 

The judgewiki would combine the wiki software with a decision-matrix spreadsheet.  That is, thousands of people can collaborate on adding and evaluating technologies or policies.  There might be one “composite” international judgewiki for Climate Change, or national judgewiki for debating a national budget, or county judgewiki for selecting bus routes.  The one composite judgewiki represents the overall agreement on facts, odds that opinions are correct, and judgments.  The composite changes over months, as the individuals agree on new facts, odds, and judgments.  Any individual or organization could access the composite judgewiki to play “what if” and produce a branching judgewiki to reflect a minority viewpoint.

 

Ideally, the judgewiki software will allow for advancements.  For example, social scientists are finding that market forecasting can predict outcomes better than polls.  Market forecasting relies on averaging the “bets” of many people to predict an outcome.  Essentially, it allows people to “buy” stock in the outcome of an event.  The March 2008 Scientific American provides a good discussion of market forecasting starting page 38.  Popular Science runs a future prediction market at ppx.popsci.com.

 

The market forecasting approach may be the best way to arrive at composite scores.  The system may keep track of individual’s past prediction success when determining the “weight” to give their opinion.  Or perhaps contributions would not be anonymous in order for those “playing the market” to indicate confidence in an individual’s evaluations.

 

Why build a judgewiki?

 

The judgewiki can be current for centuries, as long as the issue persists.  Unlike government commission reports, it would remain within a month or two of current human knowledge indefinitely.  Consider that Climate Change issues are likely to persist for centuries.  Every week we learn of new solutions (PODenergy), or reasons for old solutions (nuclear energy), or unforeseen consequences (corn ethanol increases Gulf of Mexico dead zone), or more about uncertain solutions (ocean iron fertilization).  The Climate Change judgewiki is always handy to select private and public investment opportunities.  Unlike a report “snapshot,” the judgewiki is an interactive movie that increases in value over time and is always ready to play.

 

The funding to maintain a judgewiki should be appropriate to its scope and level of interest but remains efficient because of its “many hands make light the work” approach.  The judgewiki “animated movie” has thousands of “cartoonists,” many volunteering their time or paid by many employers.

 

We should arrange the judgewiki to avoid two pitfalls with many current decision systems, commission reports, and group web sites.  One is the too-quick discouraging of out-of-box suggestions.  The other is a tendency to focus too narrowly on one’s mission.  Both can arise when retaining only experts in a particular field.  Experts may not notice, mention, or properly value new technology from areas outside their expertise.  A collection of 1945 vacuum tube experts planning for the year 1965 vacuum tube factory, do not include transistors in their planning.  A collection of 2003 investors and politicians narrow their focus to “immediately available American biofuel” and increased corn ethanol production increases burning of tropical forests, increases the size of the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, encourages the mining of fresh water, and only debatably reduces oil dependence and fossil carbon dioxide emissions.

 


 

Might a judgewiki have other benefits?

 

The judgewiki empowers individuals and makes better use of human ingenuity because it maximizes individual participation.  That is, individuals can change variables to see how the change influences an optimum “slate” of recommendations.  One of the difficulties of big issues, like Climate Change, is that most people “tune out” because they know they cannot grasp the big picture.  Those who “tune in” do so because they have a personal interest in part of the picture.  For example, a Climate Change judgewiki would allow someone interested in zero fossil carbon emissions to assess the odds of needing all the nuclear power that could be supplied by known reserves of nuclear fuel.

 

The judgewiki may help overcome decision paralysis.  For example, a judgewiki devoted to relating predictions of greenhouse gas emissions with local climate, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and other impacts would help put differing opinions in perspective.  Similarly, a   Climate Change solution judgewiki would help governments and investors assess the weight to attach to vocal minorities objecting to specific solutions. 

 

A judgewiki may improve dialog between normally opposing viewpoints.  For example, groups often spring up to stop a solution, such as local objections to wind turbines.  The anti-group sometimes takes an emotional “nothing” stance.  But, the community’s concerns would be better served by the anti-group contributing to the judgewiki.  Ideally, the anti-group’s participation in the judgewiki alters the wind farm design toward a quicker balancing of global and local benefits.

 

The currency and permanence of a judgewiki might offset a human tendency to act only immediately during a crisis or after a catastrophe or a scandal.  By offsetting that tendency, the judgewiki might offset the tendency toward “band aide” actions.  Perhaps the judgewiki will assist follow through with structural solutions before those solutions fall from collective memory, until the next catastrophe.

 

Judge Wiki’s Conclusion

 

A judgewiki can combine the Internet power and transparency of a wiki with the summarizing features of a decision-matrix to effectively and efficiently harness full knowledge and innovative capabilities of entire populations.

 

 


Who will take these actions?

A team with people who understand wikis and spreadsheets (or databases).

Government or non-profit funding.  Government might fund this as an improvment of the U.S. National Climate Assessment.  For example, the National Climate Assessment should be a wiki (the existing "standard" wiki).


Where will these actions be taken?


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?


What are other key benefits?


What are the proposal’s costs?


Time line


Related proposals


References